I really love meeting new travel bloggers on a weekly basis with my Traveler Tuesday series. Traveling is only one part of my personality so I thought it would be fun to connect with food bloggers as well.
I am not a food blogger to the extent that I am doing recipes and cooking. Instead, my focus with food is more on the eating side. Trying new foods and restaurants (as well as food trucks) and then blogging about them is where I fit within the food blogger ecosystem. That's why I label myself as a travel and food blogger and I am happy to encounter both travelers and foodies.
So with that, I am introducing FOODIE FRIDAY, a new series where we get to meet a new food blogger on a weekly basis. To start we have Julie Gordon of Inspiring Kitchen.
Let's meet Julie!
 Have you always been a foodie, or is that something you grew into?
I grew up in a family that loved to cook. Grandmothers, Aunts, and Mom all made it seem like fun and not work. Although they may say otherwise. It was all about bringing family and friends together over a meal, holiday or party environment. As I began cooking, I grew to understand the value of quality products whether food or cooking equipment.
Many years ago, I took a part-time holiday job working for Williams Sonoma where I learned even more about products and cooking technique. As I moved into working for housewares product companies, I began working with national retailers, chefs, and the media, all giving me the opportunity to be a part of the foodie world. And in Chicago, it is a pretty great place to be!
 How and why did you begin your blog?
My blog really began as a result of the knowledge that is in my head regarding housewares and food products. I have been in the housewares world for 14 years doing much of what Inspiring Kitchen is now formally doing. I casually would volunteer something in a conversation that was related to these subjects and people were asking for more info and then telling me to write a blog.
I formally launched Inspiring Kitchen this year as a business but also offering a blog to educate on products, tips, recipes and favorite finds in the industry. My style though is not to do recipes necessarily but to highlight how a recipe would work with a particular kitchen product. For example, I wrote a post about Le Creuset Dutch Ovens and then offered a bread recipe that you can make in the pot. It’s showing folks how to use pieces in different ways than what is assumed. Another simple example is that bread knives are not just for bread! They are great for tomatoes, peppers and anything with tough surfaces.
 What’s your favorite thing to make/cook?
I love doing anything but main dishes. You know, all the time consuming, many step dishes. That’s what I enjoy! Crazy but true because then I can be creative in every dish rather than just one. Grilling, small plates whether tapas or appetizers, salads, desserts, etc. are all fun challenges to me.
 What is your favorite thing to eat?
Seafood. Then fresh fruit. And of course, hot, steamy bread. Haagen-Daz Coffee Ice Cream.
 What is your comfort food?
Grilled chicken breast sandwich with french fries.
 Describe your perfect food day?
Bowl of fresh fruit that includes berries, melon, mango, coconut, and green apples. Huge mug of steaming strong coffee. Grilled shrimp with tropical brown rice and grilled peppers and onions. Glass of chilled white wine. Pure vanilla ice cream.
 What are three other blogs that inspire you?
As a new blogger, I am still discovering blogs that fit my style and interests. I have learned so much from those I have looked at though. Here are a few as my starting point:
 Do you have advice for bloggers just starting out?
Actually, I think it really depends on why you are starting a blog. Is this a place to share your thoughts, experiences and recipes? Is it a forum centered around a theme? Or like mine, is it a connection to a business? And then, is your goal to monetize it at some point?
For me, starting a blog was very challenging. I am a business developer and marketer by profession. The ability to strategize the business and its growth is what makes me happy. Networking and building partnerships is natural for me. When it comes to the website itself, there is an incredible amount to learn that has nothing to do with content.
All of the back-end technical details from site set up to social media to SEO is honestly not my favorite thing to be doing. I love the content part. If I would do it again, I would seriously consider hiring someone who’s knowledgeable in this area as it would have saved me a lot of time and frustration.
On the positive side, I would totally encourage new bloggers to join as many FB groups as they have time for. I have met and learned from some wonderful people who have been so supportive as I navigate my way through the blogging world. There is also a tremendous amount of reading you will find online if you google the subject or problem that you are working on.
It’s also very important to be patient as your blog grows. Hard to do, of course! Using the various social media platforms that are best suited for your content will help you gain visibility. In the end, it’s the feedback from those who are finding the information helpful that makes it all worthwhile to me. Food and cooking are joyful places to be as it brings your friends and family together. That’s my idea of an Inspiring Kitchen.